A group of Israeli high school students sent the following letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, explaining their refusal to serve in the Israeli army.(via the Alternative Information Center)
CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS (“SHMINISTIM”) 2014 REFUSAL LETTER:
‘We, citizens of the state of Israel, have been designated to serve in the army.
We appeal to the readers of this letter to set aside that which has always been taken for granted and reconsider the implications of military service.
We, the undersigned, intend to refuse to serve in the army and the main reason for this refusal is our opposition to the military occupation of Palestinian territories. Palestinians in the occupied territories live under Israeli rule though they did not choose to do so, and have no legal recourse to influence this regime or its decision-making processes. This situation is neither egalitarian nor just.
In these territories, human rights are violated, and acts defined under international law as war crimes are perpetuated regularly: i.e. assassinations (extrajudicial killings), the construction of settlements on occupied lands, administrative detentions, torture, collective punishment and the unequal allocation of resources such as electricity and water. Any form of military service reinforces this status quo and, therefore, in accordance with our conscience, we cannot take part in a system that perpetrates the above-mentioned acts.
The problem with the army does not begin or end with the damage it inflicts on Palestinian society. It infiltrates everyday life in Israeli society too: it shapes the educational system and our workforce opportunities while fostering racism, violence and ethnic, national and gender-based discrimination.
We refuse to aid the military system in its promotion and perpetuation of male dominance. In our opinion, the army encourages a violent and militaristic masculine ideal, whereby “might is right.” This ideal is detrimental to everyone, especially those who do not fit it. Furthermore, we oppose the oppressive, discriminatory, and heavily gendered power structures within the army itself.
We refuse to forsake our principles and values for the sake of fitting into society. Our refusal comes after considerable contemplation, and we stand by our decision.
We appeal to our peers, to those currently serving in the army and/or reserve duty, and to the Israeli public at large, to reconsider their stance on the occupation, the army, and the role of the military in civil society. We believe in the power and ability of civilians to change reality for the better by creating a more fair and just society. Our refusal expresses this belief.’